Welcome to the Airports Council International (ACI) 10th Annual Airport Economics & Finance Symposium and Conference! We are also very pleased to hold the forth ACI-World Bank Aviation Symposium this year, which marks the continuation of a long and positive cooperation between both organizations.
The global air transport industry continues to grow well over twice of Gross Domestic Product. For 2017, growth of passengers was over 7 %, topping 4 billion worldwide passengers. Airlines are again profitable in most regions of the world, reaching an expected global combined net profit of $31.4 billion. This continued growth, however, puts high demand on infrastructure. Especially airports are challenged with the fact that they may not be able to reach expected traffic if they don’t invest substantially today. For example, Eurocontrol predicts that European airports will only be able to accommodate 88% of expected demand in 2035, effecting the continent’s economic development and prosperity. On the other hand, long-term investments bear risk given the often-unpredictable nature of certain factors, such as geopolitics, the global economy, security, or natural resources, that could affect continuation of growth of the airline industry.
Behind this reality, many airports need to decide on how to expand their infrastructure for the coming years. While large airports enjoy easy access to financial markets, many smaller airports need to find innovative ways to attract investors. Governments, increasingly cash strapped, recognize that growth in air travel is one of the essential pillars for economic development. They are therefore increasingly welcome private capital in the form of Public Private Partnerships (PPP), which have become an important tool to finance their nation’s infrastructure needs.
The fourth ACI-World Bank Aviation Symposium is a continuation of past events, where we discuss the risk and opportunities of airport PPP by highlighting the role of regulators, discussing challenges, exchanging best practices, and exploring concrete new PPP opportunities. The Symposium will once again be a learning experience, which will allow participants to interact with experts of various fields in the flied of PPP in airport infrastructure development.
We hope you take the opportunity to fully engage in these discussions throughout the three days of the ACI Airport Economics & Finance Symposium & Conference.
Dr. Charles E. Schlumberger
Lead Air Transport Specialist, The World Bank